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A Christmas Book Countdown: 24 Holiday Titles for the Whole Family

A picture book for every day until Christmas. So many great titles on this list, new and old!

You know you are a true library nerd when you’re sitting in London requesting library books from your parents’ library in Las Vegas.

But obviously I need to have Christmas books ready to read to my girls for December when we arrive back in the States.

Like last year, this list is a compilation of dozens of other lists, trips to the bookstore to check out displays, reading hundreds of Amazon reviews, and suggestions from other book-lovers. Since I know I’ll end up reading most of these books dozens of times over the course of December, I don’t want a single dud in the mix.

There are a few books on this list from last year’s list mixed in with plenty of new titles and, like last year, it’s a mix of secular and religious, new and old, funny and sweet.

I hope you love them all: 

  1. Here Comes Santa Cat – After we read Here Comes the Easter Cat, it was an instant favorite in our house and I was so delighted to see a Christmas version this year. Don’t be surprised if this is your child’s favorite. 
  2. A Creature was Stirring – There are ten million spins on “The Night Before Christmas” but this one, which combines the original poem with a little boy who sneaks out of bed, is my all-time favorite. 
  3. Listen to the Silent Night – On the night Jesus was born, it wasn’t so silent after all, with cows mooing, angel wings beating, and the flap of sandals through the streets. 
  4. The Snowman – This wordless story features a little boy who builds a snowman and then, that night, discovers it has come to life. 
  5. When It Snows – This beautiful story about a boy’s adventures with his teddy bear through a snowstorm is perfect for Christmas and book lovers of all ages. 
  6. A Very Fuddles Christmas – Fuddles the cat is delighted when he discovers that his family has set out a giant feast just for him, plus a stack of presents under the best gift he could imagine – a giant climbing tree. His delight is short-lived, though, when he’s unceremoniously whisked out the door. 
  7. Christmas Eve at the Mellops’ – Four little pig brothers all get a tree for the family’s celebrations, but the parents have already procured one. The pigs go from place to place, but NO one seems to need a Christmas tree. I love the old-timey illustrations in this one. 
  8. My Pen Pal, Santa – A year worth of letters between Santa and a little girl, this one was among the most memorable of last year’s crop of Christmas books. 
  9. An Otis Christmas – If you have a little vehicle lover, here’s the Christmas book for you. 
  10. A Christmas Tree for Pyn – Pyn desperately wants a Christmas tree, but her gruff father isn’t interested. Eventually, though, Pyn’s sweet determination softens his heart. 
  11. Lighthouse Christmas – Frances isn’t sure she wants to stay at the lighthouse for Christmas, tempted instead to go spend it with extended family on the mainland. After all, how will Santa find them? But is she willing to leave her father alone at the lighthouse for the holidays? 
  12. The Jolly Christmas Postman – If, like my children, your child loves the original Jolly Postman book, this is the perfect surprise to pull out for the holidays. Who needs to wait until Christmas morning to open something up? 
  13. The Empty Stocking – This one may be tricky to find a copy of at your library or bookstore (I discovered it at the Waterstones here, although you can order a copy of it from Amazon for about $10), but it’s so good I can’t not include it. Twin sisters Charlie and Sam look alike, but act very differently. Differently enough that everyone is worried Charlie won’t actually get any presents when Santa makes his rounds. 
  14. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger – A little mouse is on the hunt for a new home (this is ringing true to me right now as we look for a place to live in Durham) and thinks the nativity manger looks just right. But then he hears the Christmas story and realizes who belongs in the little creche. 
  15. The Money We’ll Save – When Pa brings a turkey home to fatten for Christmas dinner, he is convinced it will not only feed the family for Christmas but also eat table scraps up until then. What could possibly go wrong in a tiny 19th-century New York City tenement? (Hint: everything). 
  16. Just Right for Christmas – In the same spirit as Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, a king procures some red cloth to make a gift for his daughter, and the leftovers go to good use for someone else (and someone else and someone else), until the tiniest bit becomes a scarf for a mouse in the kingdom. 
  17. Dear Santasaurus – In seventeen letters to Santa, Ernest B. Spinosaurus goes into great detail about how good he’s been all year (so there may have been a few mishaps. . . ) and also is quite specific about exactly what he’d like on Christmas morning. 
  18. The Smallest Gift of Christmas – Roland is less than impressed with his Christmas morning gift, lamenting that it’s not bigger. He wishes for bigger and bigger presents that result in some surprising adventures (and the happy realization that maybe a small gift isn’t the worst thing in the world). 
  19. Little Santa – I happened on a copy of this one mid-way through the year and remembered again how much I liked it. What a fun version of Santa’s backstory. 
  20. Room for a Little One – This was Ella’s other favorite last year, and it’s so sweet, about the Kind Ox in the stable’s inn who makes room for one animal after another, until Mary and Joseph appear, hoping for a little room for them and their expected baby. 
  21. How Many Sleeps ’til Christmas? – This little bear is like every child in the days leading up to Christmas. But on Christmas morning, it’s Papa Bear who can’t sleep another moment! 
  22. Peter Spier’s Christmas! – Every time I read a new Peter Spier book, I instantly decide that it’s my favorite. This wordless story of a family getting ready for Christmas, celebrating, and then enjoying putting everything away afterward is just so sweet and fun. Plus, my girls will look at the details of every picture for ages. 
  23. A Christmas Goodnight – This is a perfect Christmas bedtime book, as the book bids goodnight to all the members of the nativity story. 
  24. I Spy Christmas – Ella discovered I Spy books this summer at my parents’ house (they have tons of them) and we spent hours looking through them. I think the Christmas version is perfect for those last days before Christmas when the days seem so endless and children are bouncing off the walls.
P.S. If you want more recommendations, here’s the 2013 list and the 2012 list, both of which have lots of titles not included on this list. 

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  • Reply Rachel November 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Yay for Christmas books! I've been thinking I need to start collecting this year's haul (much easier this year since Baltimore libraries are AWESOME!!) Thanks for the great suggestions!

  • Reply KT November 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Yay Christmas books! I love that you always have such a nice variety, though my library doesn't have a couple that sound the most interesting to me. We'll definitely be getting Christmas from Heaven (the boy is too young, but I loved it last year), Bear Stays up for Christmas, and because the boy loves him so Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. I probably read that last one at least 100 times last year. I am pretty sure An Otis Christmas from this list will go over really well too.

  • Reply Helen November 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Awesome list! This year is my daughter's first "real" Christmas and she just discovered the wonderful world of books, so I can't wait to do the 25 days of Christmas books with her! (She was only 3 weeks old last Christmas, so I didn't REALLY count it as "baby's first Christmas" 😉
    I went through some of your older lists and already put in a request for about 15 Christmas books at our local library. I just have to hunt down a couple board books, since our library doesn't accept hold requests for board books. Did your girls enjoy any specific Christmas board book? (particularly any book with flaps to open/touch and feel? My daughter is obsessed with these lately!) I'd love your suggestions! I hope you and your family are well and enjoying your last couple of months in London.

  • Reply Heather November 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Reading Christmas picture books by the light of the tree is my favorite tradition, so I always rejoice on the day your list comes out. My library has 18 of these! Thanks so much.

  • Reply Nemesis November 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Aaaaaaand now I'm off to buy all of these for the library! Fa la la la laaaa . . .

  • Reply Lexilooo November 21, 2014 at 2:35 am

    I love your lists! I have my collection of Christmas stories from growing up, and I'm so excited to read them with Amelia this year. I'm also planning to use them in our Christmas card photo. I've also recently become a consultant with Usborne Books, and they have some really fun Christmas books for little ones. So excited!

  • Reply Shelly December 23, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Thanks again for the recommendations! We were able to get quite a few from our library. My four year old especially loves Little Santa and a Christmas Tree for Pyn.

  • Reply Lady Susan January 3, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Just wanted you to know that I live by these books lists. Please never stop. 😉

  • Reply Colleen November 11, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Thanks for these great lists! I'm requesting so many of them now from our library so we will get them in time for December. Our library system doesn't have the watchmaker book. Was that one work purchasing?

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